Journals & Collaborative Projects

Below you will find a sampling our members' work from previous collaborative projects.  Click on images to view them larger. We hope this will inspire you to come and play with us! If you are interested in joining our group, please visit us at:

Tutorials & Techniques

Below are some of our favorite tricks for adding depth and dimension to your art.  We hope you have fun giving these a try!

Current Group Swaps & Projects

Below is a list of current swaps and projects available to group members. If you are interested in joining our group and participating in these projects, please visit us at:  

For existing group members, you can sign up to participate  in these projects here: Swaps & Current Projects.  

We look forward to swapping with you.  Happy Arting!

Member Gallery for Group Swaps
Below you will find a sampling our members' work from previous group swaps and projects.  Click on images to view them larger. We hope this will inspire you to come and play with us! If you are interested in joining our group, please visit us at:
Come play with us... Join today!

Paper Traders is a friendly online community of artists from around the world. We nurture and value creativity, embrace new ideas, products, and techniques yet also value tried and true methods of artistic expression. Our projects consist primarily of paper arts, mixed media collage, artist trading cards, altered art, assemblages, collaborative journals, mail art, and more.

We are interested in creative individuals of varied skill levels who wish to challenge themselves artistically and help build a supportive community. We are at our best when we can share our creative efforts as well as techniques, resources, feedback, and insights. We encourage conversation about art, the art process, and what it means to be an artist.

Paper Traders is hosted on Yahoo Groups at
We hope you will consider joining us on an artistic journey!

In order to prevent spammers and to insure that all applicants are actual persons interested in creating art, a questionnaire will be sent to all potential members. When applying, please submit digital examples of your work or direct us to a website where we can view your art. The intent of the questionnaire is not to judge the merits of your art but to safeguard the integrity of our community.

Free Images for Download

Below you will find images that are owned by our group members and offered for your personal use as well as images found in the public domain. Images may be freely used in your personal artwork but may not be used for commercial purposes of any kind without written permission of the owner. No images may be used to create collage sheets or image collections for resale.

To download, follow the link provided. In some cases, you may be able to just click on the image to enlarge it, then right-click and select "save image as". Content changes frequently and many images are available for a limited time.  Please check back often for newly posted images to use in your art journey.

Open Art Challenges !

We're changing things up here at Paper Traders. Instead of the monthly challenges of the past, we'll now be hosting special challenges that might feature a specific technique or product and will be rewarded with actual prizes sponsored by our group members.

Our new challenge for 2013 is a year long word prompt journaling project/challenge. Each specific challenge will be open for one month and all art bloggers can participate, whether you are a Paper Traders member or not. Each artist will comment with a link to their blog post that features the artwork for that particular challenge. For each challenge, a winner will be selected whose art best exemplifies the challenge. The winning artist will be featured here and get a "Trader Treasure" blog button to display on their own blog. They also will receive one chance for each entry for the end of the year prize drawing. Watch this page for more details and challenge announcements.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Restructured Paper Tutorial

Our Paper Traders yahoo group recently hosted a 
restructured paper swap based 
on an article from Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine
 by Frankie Fioretti and Susan Pickering Rothamel
 and then reviewed at the old Gingersnaps blog

As our members started experimenting with the various ways of creating this paper,
 we thought we would put together a step by step and share our tips, 
successes and what to stay away from.  

As we found out, the base that you start on is very important. The Gingersnaps blog 
recommended a non-sticky craft mat. Some craft sites said that a kitchen cutting mat 
would work as well but our member Beckie H. stated that when she tried this, her paper
 stuck to the mat and would not peel off. The next time she used her silicone craft mat
 and it worked perfectly. I used Reynolds Freezer Paper as my base and it
 worked very well, the restructured paper peeled off without a hitch.
 Other members just clued their scraps to white copy paper and so did not have to 
worry about peeling anything off and had good results with this as well. 

Types of glue to use: I used a 1 to 1 mixture of Alene’s Tacky Glue and water. 
Other recommended glue was Perfect Paper Adhesive , a mixture of Mod Podge and gel 
medium or Golden Glazing Medium/matte. 

Supplies: Tacky glue, Scrap paper, freezer paper 

For my first step, I glued down six sheets of vintage paper to make 
a paper size of about 12”x12”. You could have your first base layer 
be anything you want but I wanted some of the text to show through 
as I was going to be using some tissue napkin scraps in my design. 

Start arranging your scraps of paper from your
 “I can’t throw it away” stash and play around with some designs. 

Tip: When you are happy with your arrangement, take a picture of it with 
your cell phone or digital camera. Once I started lifting and gluing pieces, 
I sometimes forgot where I wanted certain pieces to go.

Apply your glue with a brush to the backsides of your scraps 
and start layering. I used a heat gun to speed the drying process up. 
I’ve basically finished my restructured paper here and only needed 
to go back and add some little embellishments to flesh it out. 

In this photo, I’ve gone back and added some paper flowers, hole punches 
and a little bit more scraps. 

Some close-ups of the restructured paper. 

After your paper has dried you can peel it off the freezer paper
or craft mat if that is what you are using,
 and use it in a variety of ways. 

Tip: You can iron your paper if is a little bumpy and 
curling up. I glued a piece of mine to a manila tag and stuck it under 
a weighted book and it took care of the curling problem.

Tip: If you used slick paper scraps (magazine) in your design, you 
will need to coat your restructured paper with a coat of clear gesso 
if you will be doing any stamping on it. 

The tag I created with a section of my restructured paper. I layered 
a piece of white tissue paper onto my tag to soften and mute the colors 
with some gel medium. 

I applied some silver pigment ink around the edges and 
across the top to bring out some definition. 

Finished tag: 

A card using a section of the paper: 

I hope you will give this fun technique a try. I think you will 
really enjoy the process and be happy with your results.

Leave us a comment with a link if you'd like to share
your restructured paper adventures.

Cathy C.
Paper Traders

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Our Magazine Collage Swap

We finished up another awesome swap
at our yahoo group and this
time it was a "Magazine Collage" swap
based on the work of Sandra van der Geest.

Misti S.

Colleen K.

Cathy C.

Jo M.

Melissa W.

Pattie Mc.

Beckie H.

Amanda E.

If you would like to get in on some
great swaps like this as well as a
super community of artists,
click the purple yahoo button in the right sidebar
where you will find all the info you need to join us.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Gallery: Restructured Paper Technique

Beckie H

Beckie H

Cathy C

Cathy C

Connie H

Connie H

Connie H

Connie H

Jo M

Jo M

Melissa W

Pauline M

Pauline M

Shelly R

Shelly R

"Live in the Moment" Word Prompt #3

We are on to our third Life Mantra
Word Prompt for our Art Journal Challenge.
We hope you are enjoying this as much as we are.

If you just stumbled upon us,
stay and play with us.
You can join at any time.
For info. on the complete challenge guide lines go here.

This month's prompt is "Live in the Moment"
and the requirement is to use an element of time.

Some inspiration:

If we are ever to enjoy life, now is the time, not tomorrow or next year ...
Today should always be our most wonderful day.
 ~Thomas Dreier

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do not look back on happiness or dream of it in the future.
You are only sure of today; do not let yourself be cheated out of it.
 ~Henry Ward Beecher

For several more wonderful quotes, go to the Wisdom Quotes website here.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March's Member Spotlight

This month our member spotlight is
shining on one of our newer members
Sandy Insley aka PUFF

Ribbon doll by PUFF

How did you find Paper Traders?
 I was looking for a very active group since I have just retired.

How long have you been a member?
About 6 months.

Where do you live?
I am moving to Arizona next week (March 13) from Ohio.

How have your surroundings affected your art?
Oh, very much so. I live in the country and love nature so this reflects in some of my work.

Please share a little about your own art experience.
I started out stamping because of my grandmother-in-law and then I tried pottery,stained glass, then ATC's and collage. Now I do so many different mediums that I am truly a mixed media artist.

What are some of your favorite techniques or genres? I really love to solder and I love making jewelry. ATC's are a real challenge because of the size. But my favorite thing to do is to take a box of whatever and try to create something wonderful from these pieces. As I go, I will add a few items that will make it all go together.

What inspires you?
Anything can be an inspiration. Sometimes a book or just something I notice in my day or looking at someone else’s work turns on my brain and off I go. Some times my muse is restless so I watch TV and that can set her off.

Who are some famous artists whose work you admire and what especially appeals to you about this?
I admire a lot of the Impressionists for the flow and softness of their colors. Of today’s new mixed media artists, there are so many I admire and each for a different small thing, that I could not list them all.

Describe your work area... Do you have your own studio or craft room?
I have an area where all my things are stored in relative organization. I go get what I want and work at the kitchen table so that I can watch TV and be near my husband and my dog, Sable. Sable likes to pick up anything I drop on the floor and it is a game with us for me to get it back. She also helps clean up any glitter or jewels, usually with her nose.

What tips or tricks have you found to help carve out a niche for your supplies and art?
The more you buy the bigger the niche. I have a ton of stuff and I mean a ton. I could open my own store. Now that we are packing to move and my husband has seen how much there is maybe he will let me have a room all to myself for a studio. In our last house he shared his gun reloading stuff with me and I think that he took over so much of my space. I moved my stuff to the garage as my storage and summer studio.

Please share a little about your family and pets.
 I am married to a guy that I decided to keep around for 20 years so far. We have a black Labrador Retriever Black Sable Rockhound. My husband raises fish as a living and I just retired. Sable collects rocks and loves to play but getting petted is her favorite thing, even more than food. Now that I am retired I have more time to do art and read and watch nature; my favorite three things, maybe not in that order. It is strange not to have to go to work everyday and you get mixed up with the day, date and time. I find myself doing projects very late at night more often than any other time. I just turned 50 so retirement is really great at this age.

If you'd like, please share a little about your childhood, where you grew up, and when your creativity began.
I grew up in a small town in Ohio where football was everything. I went on to college at Ohio State University. I loved college and I did start out working within my field then I moved to another job within another field. I was a glutton for punishment and have 3 Bachelor Degrees. I changed jobs a lot but finally settled as a Color Chemist and this really spurned me on in my art work. I really have no formal training in art, I just do what the voices tell me. ( you all are jealous 'cause the voices only talk to me - LOL)

Do you have any other hobbies or interests? 
I have tons of hobbies. Outside of mixed media stuff, I do stained and fused glass and some pottery. I absolutely love, love, love to read and read 3-5 books a week. I love nature so watching nature is a big part of my time, especially birds. I like to ride my bike although there are not as many places to ride as I'd like and I really love to play with my dog as much as I can.

Oh yeah, sometimes I like to hang with my hubby. Actually we like to travel as much as we can. Especially to places near the beach where it is warm. I guess that is all I can tell you now. I love art and to express myself and sometimes you can tell my mood by my art because it can be dark and haunting and other times bright and funny. 

We hope you enjoyed this member spotlight.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

Inchie Accordian Book Swap Announced

This swap is for Paper Traders Members only but we would love for you
to become a member and join us. Click the purple yahoo button in
the sidebar for more information and how-tos.

Inchie Accordion Book
Theme: Spring
4 for 4 (6 inchies per book)
Postmarked by April 8th.
Hostess: Cathy Calamas

This swap will have you creating a Master Board of stamped and inked images that you will then cut up into inchies to create your mini-accordion books.

How-to’s here:

Your finished accordion book with be 7.5"long by 1.25"wide. 1/8” frame around each inchie. No chunky embellishments, may attach ribbon to back side for tying/closing book if you desire.

Please mail your creations to me flat, not accordion pleated. We will let everyone fold them on their own when they receive them for ease of mailing.  If you mail them in a 9.5”x4.25” envelope with a cardboard liner, it should work perfectly.

Please include $1.00 postage or ephemera in lieu of postage AND a return address label. Int’l members welcome ( please send ephemera in lieu of postage).

If you are a Paper Traders member please sign up here in the database:

Please post your completed images here: 

If you would like to be a part of this swap, come join our group. Click on the purple yahoo group button in the right sidebar and you will get instructions on how-to.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ribbon Doll Swap Gallery

We are so excited to show you our fabulous ribbon dolls
 that we just swapped in our Paper Traders group.

Pam C.

Donna M.

Pattie Mc.

Shelly R.
Beckie H.

Cathy C.

Janne R.


How fun was this swap and it was great
to see how varied everyone's dolls turned out.

Would you like to join us?
Click on the purple yahoo link button in the right sidebar.
Easy as that!!